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India Will House Our Second Largest Facility In The World: Red Hat
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India Will House Our Second Largest Facility In The World: Red Hat  
With its expansion in India, Red Hat hopes to incubate, sustain and support local talent and maintain high quality contributions to the open source community, both locally and internationally.   
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Monday, July 30, 2012 If you thought India was lagging behind other countries in adopting open source technology, think again! When Red Hat made its expansion plans, it considered India as the idle destination to find ‘appropriate’ talent. Besides, Evans Data’s Global Developer Population and Demographic Survey conducted in 2011 reveals that India is among the rising technology powerhouses and by 2015, this country will surpass the United States with more than 3.5 million professional software developers.

Red Hat recently announced the expansion and launch of two ‘Engineering Centres of Excellence’ in Bengaluru and Pune. The Pune centre, spread over 4645 sq m (50,000 sq ft), is Red Hat’s second largest engineering facility in the world, the largest being in North America.

Red Hat, Red hat Anuj Kumar, Red Hat Paul Comier, Red Hat facilities in India

Located at two of India’s most prominent IT hubs, the newly inaugurated facilities reflect Red Hat’s increased investments in the country. With its expansion in India, Red Hat hopes to incubate, sustain and support local talent and maintain high quality contributions to the open source community, both locally and internationally.

Diksha P Gupta of EFYTimes.com spoke to Anuj Kumar, general manager, Red Hat India, and Paul Cormier, executive vice president and president, Products and Technologies, Red Hat Inc, about the two new centres, their upcoming products and Microsoft’s new open source subsidiary. Read on...

Q. Red Hat has recently announced the expansion and launch of two ‘Engineering Centres of Excellence’ in Bengaluru and Pune. Any reason for choosing India for expanding operations?

Anuj: After North America, we have opened our second largest facility in the world in India. Now, there are essentially two facilities in India. The one in Pune takes care of services like support and is also an R&D centre, the other R&D centre is in Bengaluru, which is the new one. These are part of the global R&D centres, so they are not specific to the Indian geography. 2012 is the ‘Year of the Developer’ for Red Hat. With our new facilities, we hope to continue showing our commitment to developers throughout the APAC region.

Q What kind of manpower do you plan to employ in these R&D centres?
Anuj: We cannot specify the number of people we will hire in each of these facilities, but the most we can say is that it is the second largest expansion for Red Hat in the world. Essentially, there are four engineering centres across the world. The first is in Boston, there’s another at Brno in the Czech Republic, and we have a couple of them in India.

Q. Any reason for choosing India for the second largest centre?
Anuj: To be honest, it is just a part of our natural expansion. The Pune facility was set up a long time ago and has provided support and engineering operations since 2002-2003. So this is not a new facility. In fact, most of the front line support services for home support, documentation and support tools are all developed and maintained from the Pune facility. So this is just a part of the natural process by which Red Hat has grown over time. That’s the case with Pune. For Bengaluru, it is a different case. We have acquired a storage company about five-six months ago. And most of the engineering work in that company was done in Bengaluru. So it was natural for us to consolidate and have our storage business unit, essentially the engineering, be based out of Bengaluru.

Q. Was it as natural as this or was there any particular strategy behind it?
Anuj: Yes, there is obviously a strategy around it, which is to continue to expand Red Hat support and services in engineering. Like I said, these two Indian centres are a part of our global network of centres. It’s not that we are servicing only the India geographies. The way Red Hat expands is, where we find good talent, we expand in those geographies. If we find good talent in India to help us in support and in developing certain parts of our tools, we will expand in India. We got good talent for storage when we made an acquisition. We have done similar things in Boston and Brno. So that is broadly how we decide on where and which geography to look at for any expansion or acquisition.

Q. So does that mean India is now at par with nations like US in terms of talent that Red Hat is looking for?
Anuj: At Red Hat, it’s not that we compare the talent in the US with that of India. We try to source the best talent and the beauty with the open source development model is that talent is pretty much everywhere. We don’t have to move people out of geographies to work in certain R&D centres, just because we open a facility and then need to fill it up. We actually go to the places where we see brighter and brighter talent, if possible. In this scenario, open source development resulted in having a set of people and processes that we find extremely useful here, so we have expanded here.

Anuj: The Pune centre is a little bit more weighted towards support tools, products and front line support, as well as engineering around Red Hat Enterprise Linux. That's Red Hat's bread and butter business. There are plenty of parts within the operating system that we do out of the Pune facility. For Bengaluru, it is primarily storage. That’s the centre for engineering for the storage business.

Q. So what can we expect in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3?
Anuj: I think RHEL 6 has been a major release and the biggest shift in this version has been around virtualisation and embedding virtualisation full line and centre, as a part of RHEL 6. What we have done is essentially moved the scalability chart within RHEL 6 to ensure that you can increase memory to several gigabytes, giving a lot more scalability around IO as well as across the portfolio of the hardware. So you can actually take a lot more density in terms of the virtualisation. The amount of virtual machines that you could actually run on top of RHEL 6 with the latest firmware and hardware is about four to six times more than before. When people ask me what is in the next edition of RHEL, I tell them to look at the current version of Fedora.

Q Does that mean you have increased the virtual CPUs too?
Anuj: Yes.

Q. What other kinds of features can we expect to see in future releases of Red Hat?
Paul: We are working on RHEL 7 right now. We would want to focus on more connectivity in the Windows world with RHEL 7. There are two operating systems in the data centre right now-- RHEL and Windows. What we can ask for is more connectivity with an active directory. What you will see is more interaction with the Windows world as we take market share from Windows. In the past, it was UNIX-to-Linux migration as those going in for new projects opted for Linux instead of Windows. But now we are actually taking market share from Windows.

Another thing that you will see is more features, more high performing and more manageable guest operating systems in a virtualised environment. You will see tighter integration, and more security features around the guest to make it a more secure, better performing and more manageable guest operating system. You will also see RHEL as a part of other platform-as-a-service products. For example, OpenShift is a platform-as-a-service offering, and what it does is that people move to cloud computing and make almost an appliance of their applications. RHEL is used in a lot more situations like that with other tools like OpenShift. After that, if the customers run their application either in a virtualised environment or the cloud, they get a common operating system because they are using RHEL. So those are some of the things that we are working on. The beauty of the RHEL of the future really is the foundation of cloud computing as customers build private clouds and want to move to the public cloud in a hybrid situation—RHEL will be the foundation to do that.

Q. Since you just mentioned Microsoft’s market share, how do you view Microsoft’s open source subsidiary?

Paul: From what I know of Microsoft’s open source subsidiary, I don’t think it has anything to do with markets here. What I know is that they are enabling a wholly owned subsidiary to focus on connectivity with open source projects. Frankly, I think that is a good thing. I think Microsoft is now acknowledging that open source is here to stay. It has said that it will focus on interoperability between open source and its own projects. That’s a really good thing because what our customers are also asking is more connectivity with Microsoft. So, I think that it is a very good initiative.

Q. How do you view your competition?

Paul: If you talk about the pure virtualisation environment, I think we are in a very good spot. In terms of the cloud, we have all the pieces. It takes multiple pieces to build a cloud. Clouds have been built from open source technologies. People build clouds out of virtualisation layers, out of operating systems, out of middleware or management components and manage all of that. We have all those pieces; in fact, we have established products in place with applications running in all those pieces. So, I think we are in a very good shape to build clouds on top of our products. VMware has Hypervisor. Applications don’t run on Hypervisor. They run on operating systems and app services and VMware does not have either of those. So as we move to the cloud environment, I think VMware has some very serious holes in its product portfolio, as it tries to enable its customers moving to the cloud environment.

Q. What does Red Hat do to increase the participation of the community?
Anuj: You need to look at the profile of Red Hat in two parts. One part is how we build and develop software and the second part is how we sell and go about our business. The development piece is a continuous engine and that’s the open source part of what Red Hat does. For that, we need a community. We need to have a two-way dialogue. What we believe in is that those in the community between 14 years and 30 years are really the ones building the next generation of software and we have to involve them and we have to get close to them.

Paul: You cannot look at it as the American open source community or the Indian open source community, because that’s what makes open source what it is. You get viewpoints from all over the world. It’s not about the Indian viewpoint or the American viewpoint, it's about the best technical solution. The best technical solution could come from someone sitting in California or in Pune. So that is the beauty of open source. The development models that Microsoft and VMware use is that you get one person sitting in one company who gets to decide what goes in and what doesn’t, what parts to fix and what not to. With this community, the whole world gets to see what is being worked on and anyone across the world with the best idea can get it done. That’s why open source is so strong and why the technology here advances so much faster than with a traditional model. So, I wouldn’t say that there is an Indian, American or any other open source community. It is the technology that people are interested in.

Diksha  P Gupta, EFYTIMES News Network

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